July is upon us, and the summer in Iceland continues to give us endless beautiful rainy days. The school has ended and this semester was my final semester in computer science at Reykjavík University. This last semester was very challenging, and I wanted to share my experience over the final months of my studies.
Being confident and mentally strong has been a challenge throughout my studies, constantly doubting my abilities and skills in comparison to other students. The first month of the semester I completely lost track of my workload. I realized at the end of the month that I had assigned myself with more projects and courses than I could manage. Organizing my time and the things I need to get done has always been one of my strengths when it comes to studying. After a couple of weeks, I started to feel that strength slowly slipping away when I realized that I had no time to do anything else but to study and prepare my teaching.
I became very anxious, I felt how I was starting to lose my motivation, and it was only January. I thought about how many people I knew who had taken extra courses over a term, or been TAs while also taking courses with high workloads. I thought to myself that if they could do it why can’t I? I could survive these next couple of months. I did not.
My body crashed and I broke down, it maybe sounds overly dramatic but it happens for many students, more than we realize. I could not continue my semester with all this workload. I needed to drop teaching and rearrange my courses. I am the type of person that if I start something, I want to finish it doing my best. So this felt like a defeat for me personally.
After I changed my schedule, things started slowly to move in a positive direction. I met with the school’s counselor and psychologist who were both helpful. I began to enjoy the things that I was doing again as well as taking better care of myself. The workload was still high but not as overwhelming as before.
It is important to remember that we should only compare ourselves with one person, and that is ourselves. I continuously have to remind myself to stop comparing myself to others, what they can do and I can’t. I know I am not the only one stuck in this trap, but for me, being aware of it helps and will hopefully lead me out of it. That is my work in progress after this semester, to believe in myself and stop comparing myself to others. Remember that whatever you are doing or will do in the future, you are enough.